Thursday, July 5, 2012

Halfway through

The Yankees have played exactly half of their regular season games before heading to Boston for a 4-game trip to close out the first half before the All-Star break. The Yankees are a team that is built on power and pitching and when those two things do not add up, they don't win many games. Thus far through the season, the Yankees have won one game without hitting a home run. That is the lowest in Major League Baseball. However, they have hit 126 home runs through 81 games. That is six more home runs than the next best team in that category. In June, the Yankees went 20-7, their highest winning month this season and since 2009. In that month, the starting pitching carried the Yankees. Their starters were lights out and not one of them pitched to more than a 3.03 ERA during the month. Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova had months they will never forget and Hughes bounced back nicely by winning four games against one loss during June.

The hitting in the month of June was nothing to write home about with the expections of Cano, Swisher and Chavez. Cano had a monster month, hitting .340 with a .740 OPS. Swisher had a healthy .321 batting average and Chavez hit .286 with a couple of clutch hits. The rest of the lineup slumped in the batting average department but thrived in the power categories. The Yankees scored the third most runs in baseball during June, mostly manufactured by the long ball. The offense is what it is: a home run hitting team. Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nunez are not with the team to give them speed on the bases and in Gardner's case in the outfield. The Yankees have had to make do with Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones platooning in left field. The older outfielders are surely past their prime but will make the routine plays.

In the second half of the 2012 season, expect the Yankees to gain the speed element when Gardner comes off the disabled list. You have to think that Nunez will be called back up as a bench player down the stretch. Ibanez and Jones will return to their DH duties and the outfield will once again be one of the best in baseball. The Yankees have been rumored to be looking at starting pitchers on the trading block, such as Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Zach Grienke. The three pitchers mentioned will surely have steep price tags, so the Yankees will try to look from within to fill the needs at starting pitching if Freddy Garcia and David Phelps do not work out. They will be getting Sabathia back after the break which is already an upgrade.

To conclude, the Yankees have a post-season worthy team that still has a lot of work to do if they want to get to the promise land. Their pitching has been stable of late and their lineup depends heavily on the long ball. If they want to compete in the playoffs, the Yankees have to play station to station baseball and go back to their winning ways that won them four rings in five years during the dynasty era.

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